Arab bourses gain $16bn

But only six markets rise, mainly in Gulf, in past seven months

Arab stock markets gained around $16 billion in the first seven months of 2012 and most of the increase was in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil producers.

From $901.8 billion at the end of 2011, the combined market capitalization of the region’s 14 official stock exchanges grew to nearly $$917.9 billion at the end of July, according to the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF).

The level had sharply risen to nearly $981 billion at the end of March before it started its gradual decline to reach $916.3 billion at the end of May. It slightly rebounded at the end of July and swelled further to $925 billion on August 5.

The report showed most of the increase in the first seven months was in Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul, by far the largest and busiest Arab bourse. From around $347.2 billion at the end of 2011, its market capitalization grew to nearly $362.4 billion at the end of July after hitting one of its highest levels of $410 billion at the end of March, said the AMF, a key Arab League organization.

The report showed Abu Dhabi’s market rose from $66.6 billion at the end of 2011 to $72.9 billion at the end of July while Qatar’s bourse swelled from $124.4 billion to $129.2 billion and that of Kuwait from $101.1 billion to $104.3 billion.

Oman’s Muscat securities market also increased from $19.7 billion to $20.7 billion while there was a small decline in Bahrain and Dubai, the only Gulf bourses to slip during that period, according to the report.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s bourse rose from $57.1 billion at the end of 2011 to $60 billion at the end of March before dipping to $55.1 billion at the end of July.

Morocco’s Casablanca market slumped from $61.7 billion to $52.3 billion while the bourses of Jordan and Lebanon slipped from $25.7 billion and $16.4 billion to around $25.4 billion and $16.3 billion respectively.

Tunisia’s bourse edged up from $9.6 billion to $10 billion while those of Palestine and Syria dropped from $2.7 billion and $1.4 billion to $2.6 billion and $1.2 billion respectively, the report showed.

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